Palliative care

Early specialist palliative care treatment does not improve the quality of life for patients diagnosed with the rare cancer mesothelioma when compared to standard care alone, new research led by Curtin University has found.
The research, published in this month’s edition of Thorax, explored whether early specialist palliative care, which involves managing the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of care, soon after the diagnosis of malignant pleura mesothelioma (MPM) led to an improved quality of life and mood for patients and carers; which compared to standard care alone.

Co-author Professor Fraser Brims, from the Curtin Medical School at Curtin University, said malignant pleural mesothelioma an uncommon cancer of the chest cavity and the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos fibres and affects more than 700 Australians each year.

Significant symptoms of mesothelioma

The global burden of mesothelioma largely reflects the high use of asbestos throughout the last century; with Australia and the UK having the highest rates in the world. People diagnose with mesothelioma experience significant symptoms; with low quality of life and a low survival rate; so the treatment of mesothelioma remains a significant challenge, Professor Brims said.
Previous research show that patients diagnose with other types of cancer may benefit from early specialist palliative care, in conjunction with other relevant treatments, but our research aim to examine if this was also the case for patients with mesothelioma. They find the current level of standard care in Australia and the UK is adequately meeting the needs of patients early after the diagnosis of mesothelioma and specialist palliative care was only require on a case-by-case basis.

Role of early specialist palliative care

Co-author Professor Anoop Chauhan, from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust; so explain that the study was the largest randomise control trial to date to examine; so this question in patients with mesothelioma living in Australia and the UK. Our findings will help health professionals, carers and family members to further understand the role of early specialist palliative care when treating mesothelioma and to recognise when it is required and when it is not, Professor Chauhan said.
Further research is explore which patients and when in their disease trajectory; will most benefit from early specialist palliative care, but it continue to play a key role in the treatment plan; when patient’s pain, symptoms, and psychological care are no longer met by standard care alone.
The research, sponsor by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and fund by the British Lung Foundation and Australian Communities Grant; who was co-author by researchers from Australia and the UK. The research paper is titled Early specialist palliative care on quality of life; so for malignant pleural mesothelioma, a randomised controlled trial.